Lessons of a Broken Ankle #1:
The Universe Will Laugh at You and Your Puny Plans
Here’s the story:
I broke my ankle. Now, I’ve broken a little toe before, but never a major bone like my fibula. And it didn’t happen in some earth-shattering, blood-curdling way either. Although…that would make for an epic story. But alas, it was just me at roller derby practice skating my heart out doing a crossover on a slippery corner and…FWAP, I hit the floor. No biggie usually, but this time my foot decided to go one way and my body the other.
But then I heard it: Pop.
I knew what I heard but I didn’t want to believe it. It happened very quickly and without too much pain. Long story short, a trip to the ER (which I drove to myself, because: stubborn Italian) and the diagnosis was confirmed. It’s broken. Luckily, no surgery was required but it meant I had to have a cast put on and stay off of my left leg completely for at least 6 weeks. So the ER nurse sent me on my way with an air cast, crutches and instructions on the follow-up.
“Well, you’re all smiles even with a broken ankle.”
And I was…then. It was probably a little bit of shock and “I can’t believe this just happened” bubbling up into nervous smiles (I didn’t even have any pain meds yet, I swear.)
Until, that is, I woke up the next day.
As I tried to “go about my regular day” I was slapped in the face with the realization that my “regular” days were over. I had to change the way I did EVERYTHING. And some things could not be done AT ALL.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. There I was, whining to myself (kudos to my husband for being there to just listen through this phase): “But I had plans. Plans to go shopping. Plans to decorate the house. Plans to, ya know, be a normal human and take a shower every day! (sob, sob 🙁 )”
Maybe it was my husband’s silence or the Universe channeling his facials muscles in that moment when I recognized the Universe’s message back to me:
Too. Effing. Bad.
There was nothing I could do. Mentally, I was thrashing, revolting, “giving it to the man” that my plans were disrupted. But physically, I was stuck. There was no way around it. The tangible proof was staring me in the face in the shape of a big black boot on my leg.
And then, once the tears dried, I understood one of the lessons I was being taught in that moment: You cannot plan for everything.
And no matter how many times we hear this lesson from the universe, we try…believe me, we try! We try to plan out pretty much everything and brainstorm all possible pitfalls and detours ahead of time so we can have a plan for when the plan goes awry. (Yes, that’s plans on top of plans.)
But there is always something that we had no idea was coming our way.
You didn’t plan on having to fire that client. You didn’t plan on that service selling more than the others. You didn’t plan on the series of pivots your business went through in the first few years. You didn’t plan on that potential client not converting. You didn’t plan on putting your finger (so decisively) on how you love to help others.
And you didn’t plan on any of it. Some you didn’t want to have to do. Others were a long time coming. But both can teach valuable lessons and insights into how to handle these, and similar, situations in the future (with less mental thrashing.)
So what do we do when all these uninvited plans keep showing up?
Now we regroup. We re-strategize. We review. We adapt. We thrive. We learn and we move on.
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
There’s no way you can know every possibility that can happen in your business. And nor should you. What lies in the “unknowing” is where the real magic starts to happen…you learn about yourself, about why you love helping others the way you do, about what you are willing (and not willing) to put up with, and about how much “tough stuff” you’re made of when your plans don’t seem to go your way. (My guess is you are tougher than you think you are!)
So, the Universe can sometimes care less about your puny plans, and show you a path we never knew existed. You just have to be open to changing our plans.
Broken ankle and all.